Sunday 15 September 2019

Boris Johnson's talk of new Brexit deal 'not in the real world', says Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Britain's new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, delivers a speech outside Downing Street, in London. Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Evie Kearney

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suggestion that Britain's withdrawal agreement with the European Union can be completely renegotiated in the coming months is "not in the real world", Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.

"Listening to what he said today, I got the impression that he wasn't just talking about deleting the (Northern Ireland) backstop, he was talking about a whole new deal - a better deal for Britain," Mr Varadkar said of Johnson's debut speech as prime minister.

"That is not going to happen.

"Any suggestion that there can be a whole new deal negotiated in weeks or months is totally not in the real world," said Mr Varadkar, who was speaking in an interview on RTE television.

Varadkar has called Johnson’s Brexit intentions “clear cut but certainly not detailed”.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson 'convinced' he can do deal to resolve Irish border issue - but warns UK will prepare for a no-deal Brexit

“The European council doesn’t meet until the 12th of October and we’ve no plans to meet any earlier than that. Even if we were to change the negotiation guidelines we wouldn’t be changing for them.

“Since the government was formed here in Ireland, this is our third prime minister. It is a very unstable political situation in the UK.

“We’re stable here, we’re calm, we’ve a clear policy with lots of detail behind. We’ve got solid support from other EU member states and institutions, so we’re in a strong position to get through this.”

U-LEADER (296).jpg
Britain's new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, delivers a speech outside Downing Street, in London. Photo: REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

The Taoiseach also said he looked forward to seeing if Johnson could “put a little detail behind those slogans and statements, because we haven’t got that yet.”

He added that be believed that “the decision to leave the European Union without really thinking it through” had damaged relations between Britain and Ireland.

“That’s their decision. We respect it and we’re going to have to try and work with them to secure an orderly departure,” he said.

“But our red lines haven’t changed – there can’t be a hard border between the north and south and freedoms of people in Northern Ireland, particularly Irish citizens, have to be protected.”

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News